Following on from Trevor’s Minuit post yesterday, with that fab song that stirred the heartstrings about You and me; we are New Zealand, I spent Waitangi Day at Onuku Marae just outside Akaroa. Incredibly beautiful place and I live just up down the road from Otakou Marae on the Otago Peninsula, which is equally beautiful, but different.
The Governor General, Anand Satyanand, gave his first Waitangi Day address in a location other than Government House Auckland or Wellington.
He attended the Ngai Tahu Treaty Festival at the Onuku Marae, where in 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi was first signed in the South Island and also the place where in 1998 the Crown gave its apology for breaches of the Treaty in its dealings with Ng?i Tahu.
He delivered a powerful address. Something he said, really stood out for me.
Twenty years ago, the late Emeritus Professor John Roberts, spoke on Radio New Zealand about the sequicentenary of the signing of the Treaty. This was five years after the jurisdiction of the Waitangi Tribunal had been extended to examine historical claims, and a few years before the first historical settlements. There was then some uncertainty from both M?ori and P?keh? as to the outcome of the process.
John Roberts foresaw that the process of bringing order to history’s “tangled web” would inevitably be slow and marred by misunderstanding. However, he believed that the Tribunal would one day be seen as a “proud possession of the whole nation.” More importantly, he also saw beyond the grievances of the past to a shared future. He said:
“Years ago, at a conference on race relations in New Zealand, someone proposed … that P?keh? and M?ori would eventually merge into a new and distinct people. Perhaps in the long run they may, and we shall gain something. But in the meantime we must deal with the reality of difference. My hope is not only that we may move closer and understand each other more fully but, far more than that, we may enjoy each other.”
A new and distinct people. Something to truly aspire to though, if at all, a long way off. We need to “get” each other, and as a nation not sure we are up for it yet. The John Key approach to flags and being relaxed about our relationships are not enough. So the reality of difference is what we must get right for now.
I know it’s not Kiwi, but all summer, courtesy of my two nine-year-olds, I’ve been listening to the Black-Eyed Peas. I became a fan of Will I am during Obama’s campaign when he spear-headed the Yes we Can song.
Their One Tribe song below is how I would like to see our future. Acknowledging our differences, but celebrating what binds us.
And ok, I have a bit of hippie in me.